Cloud payment processor and mobile commerce vendor i2c Inc. is providing the technology for Boom Financial's entry into Haiti with its text-messaging money transfer service.
Haiti is the first country to go live with the service, which links a Boom Account and its phone remittance service to a prepaid card.
"Everyone has a mobile phone in these countries and a prepaid card is popular in that area," says Patricia McPeak, vice president of product for Redwood City, Calif.-based i2c. "It really is perfect for us."
I2c provides the payments engine for the service in which Haitian consumers sign up for a Boom Account on the Boom website and fund the account with cash or another prepaid card at a money agent location, McPeak says. A key factor for Boom was that i2c provides a payments platform that supports multiple currencies and languages, McPeak adds.
After the account is set up and the customer obtains a PIN, Boom Financial sends a physical prepaid card tied to the account.
"The Boom customer can then transfer money to other countries at no cost by sending a text message to another mobile phone with the amount of the money transfer included," McPeak says.
The recipient can go to any money agent station and show the text message to receive cash, McPeak adds. Otherwise, the account holder would use the prepaid card for purchases or at ATMs.
"Person-to-person payments through mobile has been available for some time," McPeak says. "The difference here is the [availability of] international remittances in a much cheaper process."
Boom Financial and i2c chose to launch the service in Haiti because the country had several rural areas with "not too many alternatives" for transferring funds, McPeak says.
The tragic earthquake in Haiti in 2010 may have opened the door for mobile payment opportunities because "there was a lot of money being sent to people in Haiti" and mobile devices have proven to be a secure way to do it, McPeak adds.
Account holders have a $2,999 limit per day for money transfers, but no limit on withdrawals from ATMs or purchases at a point of sale with the prepaid card.
Boom Financial allows account holders to pick the fee structure they prefer either a monthly maintenance fee or a fee per remittance. Account holders can make three free ATM withdrawals a month. I2c charges Boom for payment processing, McPeak says.
Boom Financial complies with international money transfer regulations, McPeak adds.
"Money is not being sent through a text message, it's really just a command to the account," McPeak says. "There is security through a PIN and on the back-end through our cloud system."
I2c plans to continue working with Boom Financial in its future expansions, but has various other mobile commerce projects in the works, McPeak says.
Boom Financial representatives did not respond prior to deadline.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Boom provides money transfer services to immigrant and unbanked families. The company, formerly m-Via, secured a partnership with the World Council of Credit Unions last year to fuel its expansion into emerging economies. The Madison, Wis.-based World Council represents 51,000 credit unions and provides legal advice to Boom.
Boom also upped its sales and distribution in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean through $17 million it received in a July 2012 financing round from Digicel Group.